Former West Brom full-back James Hurst loses appeal on drink-driving
A boastful footballer told police he was a millionaire who had played in the Premier League and declared ‘I am Rooney’ – after being held for drink-driving, a court heard.
James Hurst, aged 26, a full-back who once played for West Brom then more recently Wrexham AFC and AFC Telford, had allegedly danced around when taken to a breathalyser in custody at Wrexham, and declared: ”I’m absolutely ******” and “Oh, the Welsh dream is over.”
But at Caernarfon Crown Court he appealed his convictions for drink-driving in a Ford Focus and being drunk and disorderly in Wrexham last December, claiming he’d drunk a small bottle of vodka after parking the car.
Judge Timothy Petts, sitting with magistrates, threw out the appeal and said Hurst had lied.
Judge Petts said if Hurst, of Sutton Coldfield, had drunk vodka there would have been no reason not to mention it to police at the time.
“His failure to mention it is significant,” the judge declared.
Hurst claimed he was now unemployed and had no money. But the judge ordered him to pay the £620 costs of the appeal.
Magistrates at Llandudno had given him a bill for £2,300 and a 20-month ban.
Pc Sarah Smith told the judge how she first came across Hurst when he drove the wrong way in Wrexham High Street, but she couldn’t smell alcohol and allowed him to turn around and drive off.
However, when the officer arrived back at the town’s police station, a CCTV operator informed her that Hurst had parked the car and was ‘spending a penny’ outside a building society.
She returned to the high street and asked a bouncer to remove Hurst from a pub which he had entered. He was then arrested.
Pc Smith said Hurst appeared unsteady but, during a roadside breath test procedure, had twice replied 'no' when asked if he had drunk alcohol in the previous 20 minutes.
Pc Anita Hickish said Hurst had bragged after being arrested, saying: ”I earn more than all of you put together. I’m a star.”
But Hurst told the appeal hearing the bottle of vodka had come from his car and he’d drunk it during 30 seconds off camera in the pool room of the pub.
“I am over the limit when I am at the bar,” he maintained.
“When I was driving I wasn’t over the limit and became over the limit in the Golden Lion in the 30 seconds.”
The prosecution claimed he had seven-and-a-half pints of Guinness earlier that day at another pub.
Hurst declared: ”What I was drinking (in the Crafty Dragon) I don’t know.”
But Judge Petts said CCTV footage showed Hurst appeared to be 'considerably disinhibited' in the street before going into the Golden Lion.
Only after being shown footage had Hurst come up with the story of drinking the vodka in the pub. The judge said he had 'crafted his evidence.'
He added :”We reject his account of drinking the vodka after the moving traffic offence.”
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